Howard County Times
Howard County

Having a good time on historic main street

On May 6, the Restaurant Association of Maryland honored two historic district bar/restaurants for their achievements.

Owner Mark Hemmis’ Phoenix Emporium was recognized as a favorite bar or tavern in the “Starts of Industry Award” category.


The Judges’ Bench was singled out for its Craft Brewing Program in conjunction with the Evolution Craft Brewing Co.

Now that Ellicott Mills Drive has reopened, it is easier to get to these great bars. There is handy parking at the courthouse for the Judges’ Bench and behind the Trolley Stop for The Phoenix. They can tear down The Phoenix building but can’t destroy the spirit of the place.


I am thinking about the resurgence of restaurants on Frederick Road in downtown Catonsville, where the Portalli people have opened State Fare, a great new restaurant. I also am very excited about the Faidley’s people, who sell the world’s best crab cakes in Lexington Market in Baltimore. They are due to put a restaurant where Plymouth Wallpaper was just down the street from State Fare.

The new restaurant will have a rooftop terrace in 2020. The Divines, who own Faidley’s, live in the historic district of Ellicott City. They would occasionally bring crab cakes out from Baltimore and sell them at Yates Market, by special order.

Don’t forget the Old Town Farmers’ Market, opening for the season on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year, it will be held in the Courthouse Parking Lot, with loads of free parking nearby. Among many other favorites, the Riverhouse Pizza Co.will be back with its amazing pies. New this year, they are offering pizza kits so you can make fresh pizza at home. Yum.

The next Girls’ Night Out on Main Street starts at 5 p.m., Thursday at The Wine Bin, 8390 Main St. and goes until 9 p.m.

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Also Thursday, the Friends of the Howard County Library are holding its Garden Party starting at 5 p.m. at the Enchanted Garden at the Miller Branch library. The event will be held rain or shine and reservations can be made on the library website. I remember going last year when it rained and it was a lot of fun anyway; it was the first time we got to meet the new library director Tonya Kennon.

The director of Howard County’s Department of Recreation and Parks, John Byrd, is retiring, with a farewell party to be held at Belmont in Elkridge on June 4. I have known Byrdfor over 20 years and have always admired his dedication to the well-being of Howard County residents. His work ethic and integrity served the historic district of Ellicott City particularly well. I worked with him on many projects over the years, particularly associated with the B&O Railroad Museum, Ellicott City Station and always appreciated his help. Here is wishing you well in all of your future endeavors, John!

History is Alive! with the Friends of the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park’s Spirit of the Victorian Era event on May 19 from 12 to 4 p.m. at the PFI. This family event is free and offers picnicking, games, tours of the ruins and free parking.

The B&O Railroad Museum, Ellicott City Station t will be renovating the freight house and the caboose on May 19 and 20. These areas will be closed to the public during that time but the rest of the museum will be open.


The Railroad Museum is also taking reservations for its summer camps. The pre-school camps will take place the week of Aug. 26, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. For kids ages 3 to 5 years old, the camp cost is $75. Youth camp will be offered to kids ages 6 to 8 and 9 to 11. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and costs $275. Aftercare is available as well. Call 410-313-0419 for registration information.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone for their help and good wishes during my continuing recovery from knee replacement surgery on April 30. This makes a complete set for me—two hips and two knees—and I look forward to hiding the cane in the back of the closet where it belongs!